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To start choosing the best socket tray, think about how many sockets you need to store, and where you will store them. Magnetic trays may work well for some people, but a post-style socket tray may work better for others; the best way to determine which will be best for you is to sort out your sockets and think about how you typically access them. The most common choices for socket storage are magnetic trays, post-style trays, toolbox trays, and socket insert trays. Each one works well for a different purpose.
Magnetic socket tray models are usually made of plastic that is molded to the specific sizes of your sockets. A metallic strip is fitted in the plastic or behind the plastic sheath to secure the metal sockets in place, preventing them from falling or otherwise shifting during transport. This type of socket tray is a great choice for storing your sockets on a pegboard in a shop, but the magnets can pick up other pieces of metal, potentially leading to a mess in cluttered tool boxes. A generic magnetic tray for tools is another great way to keep track of your sockets, though the tray will not feature individual slots for each socket. They may therefore become jumbled in the tray.
Post trays feature a number of posts on which the square end of the socket can be pressed to secure it in place. This type of socket tray usually features a rubberized handle at one end for easy carrying. This tray will keep the sockets securely in place, even when stored in a cluttered toolbox, making them a great choice for a person who will transporting his or her tools regularly. The downside to this type of socket tray is the difficulty of attaching or detaching a socket. You may need both hands to get a socket off the tray.
Socket insert trays are usually made of plastic as well, and the sockets sit in the molded slots horizontally, as if lying down. These trays are usually molded with slots for specific sizes of sockets, so only that size socket will fit in its place. This is a great choice for the socket owner on a budget who needs his sockets to stay securely in the tray. The plastic of the tray is prone to cracking, however, especially when placed in cluttered tool boxes. Some metal versions do exist, though they will be more expensive.
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